Nonito Donaire takes on late replacement Stephon Young later today
By Allan Cerf
Particulars: On Saturday, April 27, 2019 from the Cajundome in Lafayette, Louisiana, it’s Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire vs. Stephon, “Showstopper” Johnston in the WBSS (super lightweight) Tournament.
Background: Tournaments in boxing are a great idea and this one is no exception. Obviously, backup Johnston, while capable is just that – a backup. The original match- South African Zolani Tete and Donaire is the one we were all up for, but injuries happen. (There is no suggestion either, that Tete’s shoulder injury is anything but 100% legit.)
That fight would really be a fulcrum to determine how much San Leandro’s own Donaire has left. With an alternate – not so much. Also, DAZN doesn’t have as much to crow about with this amended card and given the enormous amount of money DAZN was primed with, this is a shame. Their promise to end PPV once and for all (and to think I believed if for a minute) has rung hollow and is as cracked as the Liberty Bell, to continue with the bell analogies. This change of card doesn’t help DAZN’s promise of endless great fights.
Not long ago, I wrote that Donaire’s enemies are age and questionable interest; but hey, “insiders” say his interest in the sport is reborn so who am I to question it? Personally, rather than “rebirth” (seems every other fighter claims it) it’s more a case of Donaire being a born fighter; this is what he does, this is what he is and will always be. He was born, lived and will die, a pugilist.
Before meeting his Waterloo vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux, Donaire was rightfully touted as one of the best fighters in the sport. In the blink of an eye, both Donaire’s and Rigondeaux’s amazing skills were supplanted by Lomachenko, a man who forced both Rigondeaux, as well as the only man to stop Donaire, Nicholas Walters, to simply quit on their stools. Donaire and Rigondeaux were all-solar system and then along came the cruel Ukrainian, who is all-galaxy.
Fighter’s Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Nonito Donaire: A B+ B B C+ B B+ (Average of all) B (3.1)
Stephon Johnston: B+ C B- B B B C (Average of all) B- (2.7)
Reality Check: The cliché is that speed is the elite separator in sports but – maybe not. After all, all super lightweights seem to have blazing speed! This is why, as amazing as these little men are, much as I like watching them – my big interest lies in 135 and above.
Stephon Young is yet another guy with very limited amateur experience and a decent, but REALLY small professional output. The intelligent Young is grateful for this quirk of fate which thrust him into the big show. He has fast hands and a good left hook (for a leftie) as well as all the “quick, little man” attributes you’d care to name – and he’s far younger than Donaire. But – he was an alternate for a reason.
Fight and Prediction: I expect plentiful, exciting back and forth exchanges with the caveat that, if bigger fellows were landing, some dude would be out cold. Little men generally just don’t hit as hard. That said, Donaire hits exceptionally hard for the weight and I expect that, and his vastly superior resume, to see him through to a clear-cut UD or more likely, stoppage win.
Donaire KO Johnston 10